“Ritual puts questions of belief or truth aside in favor of the shared world that its action creates and requires.” – Adam Seligman and Robert Weller, in Rethinking Pluralism
The ultimate goal of marketing is not to spread ideas, but to change behavior. Specifically, marketers seek to get consumers to buy specific products from specific sources. Without this particular desired action, marketing is a failure, no matter the aesthetic skill with which it is executed.
Of course, perceptive professionals understand that compelling ideas, beautifully executed, add to the effectiveness of a marketing campaign. They’re helpful, but they’re not sufficient.
The best marketing strategies are based on powerful ideas, creatively communicated, but go beyond a call to action. They translate a call to action into a concrete plan of action that brings potential customers into a role in which they naturally engage in acts of consumption.
That’s what ritual marketing is for.
Ritual matches the behavioral goal of marketing with a time-tested system of behavioral modification. The ritual process takes people through a passage that, although it is often steeped in profound beliefs about the truths of life, doesn’t need belief to work.
Ritual brings people from one set of behaviors to another by taking them through a series of culturally embedded actions that allow them to surrender their attachment to one social identity in order to gain purchase on another role.
Ritual marketing doesn’t depend on persuasion, whether it be rational or emotional. As Seligman and Weller observe, a ritual-based system simply moves its participants, putting existential questions aside, guiding people to shift into accord with what the moment requires.